As I have written before, stepparenting can be a challenging endeavor. Perhaps more so, according to the research, for the stepmom than the stepdad. We are all so familiar (thanks Disney and various fairy tales! ) of the evil stepmom. She is almost an archetype.
Such thinking though does little to help evolve those in the situation.
Over the years, I have tried to help my stepchildren formulate some type of vocabulary and awareness around their experiences. One of the things I have found to be most helpful is to speak to them about the word “mother”- in both the noun and verb form.
As there can be significant loyalty issues in stepchildren (especially if these are fostered and encouraged by the biological mother), that there can be little space for the sharing of love.
To help alleviate these issues, I differentiated the word “mother” for my stepchildren. I…
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